Journeys Into the Scare-the-Shit-Out-Of-You Unknown
I asked the possibly-kinky person how serious they were when they spoke of handcuffs, bungee cords, and anal beads. After their comment last night that “a little pain isn’t a bad thing” I was pretty sure they were fucking kinky. It put me in a really good mood.
They’re not. It was jokes. The pain comment was meant in general, not sexual terms.
They were really cool about it though, and a very good discussion followed. I am, however, truly disappointed. Sad disappointed.
There was one other person nearby who I could unreservedly talk to about being kinky, who while definitively not kinky themselves had had kinky partners and was familiar with and had lived in sexual subcultures. They left under circumstances which may not allow me to see them ever again, and the grief that I feel over the loss of even so new a friend is unlike anything I have ever felt before.
Now that the potentially kinky person is not, I have exhausted my possibilities for finding someone to relate to sexually at the present time and place. I feel sad and uncertain. I don’t think it’s the end of the world.
Interestingly, my non-kinky crush-person came right out and asked the “And you’re sure this is not the result of abuse and a fucked up culture?” question, rather than secretly thinking it while acting supportive. I respect that.
Now, I believed that for a long, long, long, long time. I believed it as recently as this. Unlike the author of “Liberating Ourselves in the Boudoir, An Anarchist-Feminist Perspective Against BDSM” (brought to my attention via Subversive Sub) who feels that BDSM is categorically unhealthy, I had reached the conclusion ‘The damage is done, live with it as healthily as you can, and go enjoy yourself.’ I could not see how my desire to control and hurt and bind could be anything other than a scar of Civilization, of patriarchy, of colonialism, of technophilia, of this culture that is destroying the world.
But then, prompted again by Subversive Sub, this little tiny inkling began to trickle out of the locked-up portions of my brain into the ones I allow myself to think about, that maybe my sexuality was not a product of this fucked up culture. That instead, this destructive culture had culled the expression of these desires to the so-called ‘dark,’ the evil, the unhealthy, the psychotic, the twisted, the high-heeled. That my expression of my sexuality was stunted because in this culture there is no other alternative. You express dominance and submission, sadism and masochism the way the culture expresses it –in war, oppression, torture, genocide, self-harm, rape– or not at all.
Growing up, I never read a book that described the beauty and fulfillment and sexiness of giving and receiving pain, of giving and receiving control. What I read were books that described torture, breaking, enslavement, interrogation, and rape. That’s the way things were. That’s the only way pain and control and dominance and submission could be expressed. Look at kink. What tropes do you see?
What is killing me in this moment is that it is accepted by kinky people. Kinky culture, as I have experienced it and understand it, buys into the idea that kink is dark, twisted, dangerous, and just a little bit wrong, no matter how much we proclaim our desires to be normal and healthy.
I’ve read a lot of glorification of ‘exploring your dark side’ from sex-/kink-positive people in blog-land. What is this ‘dark side’ you speak of? When I examine my fantasies inspired by the colonialist/imperialist/capitalist/war-mongering/genocidal/civilized culture I was born into, yeah, shit seems pretty dark, but in actual practice? There is nothing dark about what I do with another person, when I hit them and bite them and tie them and cover their mouths with my hand. It’s so fucking beautiful, and intimate, and full of trust, and fucking hot. It’s not an exploration of my dark side, it’s an exploration of myself, what I am, what we are.
I have similar reactions to people who claim kink is countercultural or revolutionary. It’s not. It just is. Having the sex you like and fulfilling yourself and your partner(s) rather than remaining repressed and oppressed, that’s revolutionary. But it’s not counterculture just because there’s a set of handcuffs or pain.
“But if that’s what people are into…” someone insists.
Even taking civilized, cultural, or intrinsic arguments out of the equation, very simply these tropes are not mine. They are other peoples’, other cultures’, other eras’, other governments’, other societies’, other economies’ ideas. I did not create them out of my own experience living and interacting with dominant, submissive, and switch people (or other gradations). These are the tropes I adopted because there was nothing else. They were the only dynamics that gave any validation to this hungry, unfed, squashed, crushed part of me, and so I clutched them to myself. At the same time I punished myself for wanting such evil, sick, bad, wrong things so, so badly. The only way I could handle it was to create a dichotomy within myself of ‘evil’ and ‘acceptable’ dominant and sadistic acts.
But there is this whole realm of expression of dominance and sadism out there that I’m just beginning to see faint hints of, forms of expression that civilized culture doesn’t even acknowledge exist. And because ‘The Scene’ is merely a subculture of Civilization –no matter how countercultural it would like to believe itself– The Scene does not acknowledge these forms of expression either. The kink community has adopted the same walls of the mainstream while busily deluding itself that it is pushing the boundaries of society.
I still get off on slavery fantasies, and rape fantasies, and torture fantasies, and interrogation fantasies, and breaking fantasies. I don’t necessarily think I should stop having these fantasies as long as they are also enjoyable to my partners and I understand the difference between fantasy and reality (you know, that part where we’re really equals and I can’t actually do anything to you you don’t want me to).
But there is so much more. So much that has existed that we were never told. So much that I can create with my own personal experience of interacting with partners rather than subsisting on the scraps and dregs we scavenge from the dominant culture.
I know I am not writing this as clearly as I could, but this is the first time I’ve tried to say it explicitly. I have also not edited this nearly as much as I normally do posts, because it is still swirling and bubbling and fermenting and fomenting inside of me and it is messy and it’s not going to be neat and tidy and thesis-like for quite some time. Maybe never.